Friday, February 17, 2006

That's my brother!

Haaretz - Israel News - Search Results: "An impingement on journalistic immunity

By Anat Balint

Last Update: 17/02/2006 02:37

The detention of the editor of an on-line arts and culture magazine earlier this week reveals the fragile state of journalistic immunity in Israel, and represents one of several recent cases in which the police have impinged on this immunity.

The editor of the Internet publication Ma'arav, Ronen Eidelman, posted photos on the Web site showing the burning of one of the bull statues on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv. The statues are part of a PR campaign sponsored by the stock exchange and a number of large companies.

Painted blue and white and sponsored by El Al Israel Airlines, the statue presumably was set alight in protest over harnessing culture to big business.


Eidelman said he had decided to post the photos without seeking the identity of the photographer in order to spark debate. However, detectives arrived at his apartment Tuesday morning, and told him he was a suspect in the arson. They impounded all his computer equipment, and asked him to come in for questioning.

When the officers were persuaded that Eidelman was not involved in the arson, they pressed him for the photographer's identity. He refused, citing the obligation of a journalist to protect his sources.

The police responded that this clause in the journalists' code of ethics did not apply to him, and in any case,the law regarding journalistic immunity was 'general and unclear.'

Moshe Negbi, a legal expert and lecturer on journalistic ethics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, says the police are not entirely wrong in their assessment. Journalistic immunity 'in fact does not exist,"